Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

Written with an exciting combination of narrative flair and historical authority, this interpretation of the tragic life of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, breaks new ground in our understanding of the very young woman who became queen at a time of unprecedented social and political tension and whose terrible errors in judgment quickly led her to the executioner’s block.

On the morning of July 28, 1540, as King Henry’s VIII’s former confidante Thomas Cromwell was being led to his execution, a teenager named Catherine Howard began her reign as queen of a country simmering with rebellion and terrifying uncertainty. Sixteen months later, the king’s fifth wife would follow her cousin Anne Boleyn to the scaffold, having been convicted of adultery and high treason.

The broad outlines of Catherine’s career might be familiar, but her story up until now has been incomplete. Unlike previous accounts of her life, which portray her as a naïve victim of an ambitious family, this compelling and authoritative biography will shed new light on Catherine Howard’s rise and downfall by reexamining her motives and showing her in her context, a milieu that goes beyond her family and the influential men of the court to include the aristocrats and, most critically, the servants who surrounded her and who, in the end, conspired against her. By illuminating Catherine's entwined upstairs/downstairs worlds as well as societal tensions beyond the palace walls, the author offers a fascinating portrayal of court life in the sixteenth century and a fresh analysis of the forces beyond Catherine’s control that led to her execution—from diplomatic pressure and international politics to the long-festering resentments against the queen’s household at court.

Including a forgotten text of Catherine’s confession in her own words, color illustrations, family tree, map, and extensive notes, Young and Damned and Fair changes our understanding of one of history’s most famous women while telling the compelling and very human story of complex individuals attempting to survive in a dangerous age.

Title:Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII
ISBN:9781501108631
Format Type:

    Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII Reviews

  • Sam

    Of the six wives of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard is usually the least enviable and least admired of the lot. Portrayed by contemporary and modern writers as a vixen, temptress, whore, idiot, pawn, sim...

  • Diane S ?

    3.5 An ominous beginning. A very young Catherine Howard, marries Haney VIII, on the same day his former favorite Cromwell is beheaded. This man child of a king has discarded precious wives like used c...

  • Kathryn

    I have to admit I never thought I'd want to read another bio of one of Henry VIII's wives again (agh, the Tudors yet again, agh!), and especially not Catherine Howard - I mean, how could there possibl...

  • Louise

    As queen, Anne Boleyn did well by her extended family, capturing a post in Calais for her mother’s brother who was Catherine Howard’s debt-ridden father. Catherine was then sent as a ward to the e...

  • Claire Ridgway

    This is now my go-to book on Catherine Howard. It is detailed, meticulously researched and well-referenced. It also has the benefit of Gareth's engaging reading style....

  • Orsolya

    Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, is generally portrayed as the young, superficial, fluttery, promiscuous, stupid, slut of the six wives. Although her image has been receiving some ...

  • Adrienne Dillard

    Note-Perfect Since that frigid day in 1542 when Queen Katherine Howard ascended the scaffold to her death, the life of this tragic figure has been poked and prodded, twisted and stretched to fit into ...

  • Susan

    Having recently finished the Wolf Hall trilogy, I was craving some more Tudor history and turned from fiction, to fact. This begins where that, fictional, work, finished, with the execution of Cromwel...

  • BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Shout out to Simon and Schuster and Gareth Russell for the opportunity to read this book and offer an unbiased review.July 28, 1540, was a momentous day in England-Cromwell was beheaded and Henry VIII...

  • Caidyn (he/him/his)

    This review can also be found here!Color me impressed by this book.It takes Catherine Howard, a woman who has been maligned by historians throughout the years, and turns her into a fleshed out person ...